Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

July 17, 2013

Progressives don’t believe in progress

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently at a private event in Toronto that electing a woman president would send “exactly the right historical signal to girls, women, as well as boys and men.”

What “signal” is she talking about — one that shows women have arrived? Isn’t that already obvious? That Mrs. Clinton is the Democrat frontrunner for the nation’s highest elected office without having declared her candidacy is evidence enough that the United States has changed without looking to colleges, where women exceed men in enrollment and also surpass them in bachelor’s and advanced degrees awarded, or to Sheryl Sandberg’s best-selling Lean In. Her book urges women to choose more high-powered positions and in the process shows how free they are to choose their own path.

Recent Supreme Court decisions paving the way for gay marriage in the states and invalidating a key part of the Voting Rights Act also underscore how America has become more free for more people, although progressives only like the former.

That they do not embrace both speaks to a worldview that can’t ultimately accept progress, even on their own terms, as it would annul their argument. After all, for them to move forward the world has to remain backward, so the line keeps moving on what constitutes real progress.

Take the main argument on the left about why the Voting Rights Act should have remained intact even though in the majority of the nine states requiring pre-clearance by the federal government to make election changes, blacks are registered to vote at a higher percentage than whites and months after a presidential election in which a higher rate of blacks voted than whites.

As Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent to the opinion, “The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the (Voting Rights Act)  has proven effective. The Court appears to believe that its success in eliminating the specific devices extant in 1965 means that preclearance is no longer needed.”

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